The opening pages set a pleasantly bluff, breezy tone, but I make this comment because of Buchan's politics. One character -- one of the good guys -- offers less than flattering opinions about two groups against whom Germany took rather firm action in the war after the one during which this novel is set. The same character, though, offers an assessment of the Ottoman Empire that seems fresher than one might expect in a novel written more than ninety years ago: "The ordinary man again will answer that Islam in Turkey is becoming a back number, and that Krupp guns are the new gods. Yet -- I don't know. I do not quite believe in Islam becoming a back number."
Islam, the character says, just might be a force in world politics. He just might be right.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007